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‘Merkel, Be Tough! Don’t Give up! Don’t Lift the Sanctions!’ – Russian Farmer

Ten more years of import restrictions will consolidate the recovery of Russian agriculture

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

The author is a Russian farmer whose business grew following the mutal sanctions between Russia and the EU. He rejoiced at the news that the Russian government prolonged food counter-sanctions. He explains why in this letter he sent to Komsomolskaya Pravda, Russia’s most popular daily newspaper.

“Dmitry Medvedev, thank you! I totally support the government’s decision to prolong the sanctions for eighteen months. This is very good news! I even wanted to write to Merkel (Not my female-goat, the other one who lives in Germany): “Merkel, hang in there! Don’t give up! Don’t remove the sanctions! I haven’t finished repaying the loan on my cheese factory and cowshed.”

<figcaption>For Oleg Sirota from the Moscow region, sanctions-countersanctions game is a blessing</figcaption>
For Oleg Sirota from the Moscow region, sanctions-countersanctions game is a blessing

What does this bring me (not only me but everyone investing in agriculture)? Confidence! As soon as I heard the announcement, I got the courage to expand production, I felt free to order a three-ton cheese vat. And a fancy press. Before I hesitated – "Is it worth it?" – and now I finally decided to do it. I’m also ordering a new thermostatic box for yogurt and a new yogurt maker, and planning to set up a special van for deliveries – sales volume of yogurt keeps growing and I’ve expanded to Mitino (a district in Moscow) and the Dorogomilovsky market. I don’t need to think twice!

As for farm construction, the government has already issued me the subsidy I recently won. You can joke about it, but the Medvedev government found money for the "Family Farm" program after all. So I’m officially declaring that I’m starting a cowshed on Monday!  

Besides building a cowshed, I need to expand the cheese factory promptly and dig new cellars – I’m planning to double production space, but I need the money. I will shake it out of the bank and get government compensation for the interest. That’s hard – getting a government subsidy turns out to be much easier than getting bank credit.

I wish the government would further reduce interest rates for agricultural manufacturers, like in Germany. My German colleague Gunter still thinks I’m joking when I tell him that interest rates for bank loans for farm construction are 20%. He says 1.5% is already high.

I’m also longing for the prolongation of the sanctions not, just by 1.5 years but by 5-7 or even 10 years.”  

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